Men’s NCAA division III Volleyball Tournament – Day 4

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Saturday April 28,2012
I woke up quite early on Saturday to go and have breakfast with Tania and my mom. I walked down to the lobby to see them sitting there quietly munching on some food. I sat with them to eat my plate. Shortly after, Anita (our athletic director/administrator for the trip) came down. I had introduced my mom and girlfriend to her and proceeded to finish my plate. Shortly after, I followed them to their room upstairs where I spent a couple of minutes. I then went back to my room to find Stanley walking downstairs to get breakfast. Since I packed my bag the night before, I grabbed my stuff and followed him down.

We sat downstairs eating breakfast as the time approached to have our third practice. This time we were scheduled to practice for 55 minutes (just like on day 1). We made our way to Blake Arena, ran just outside the gym to warm up, and then went onto the court once our time approached. Terry, Anita, and our tour guide had all accompanied us while we practiced. It wasn’t a tough practice. We simply worked on serve receiving, and some other small things. After practice we collectively decided that we should eat and then go back to the hotel to rest before your game. Unfortunately, Ray left his money back at the hotel, and we therefore had to take a trip back there.

We grabbed some Subway sandwiches and then made our way back to the hotel. Upon arrival, we had about an hour or so before we had to depart for our semifinal match. I took the opportunity to shower, and then eat. Shortly after, Ray had called to inform me that win or lose we need to have all our belongings in the bus once we leave. This brought some anxiety among some of us. I for example felt that I needed to win in order to return back to the hotel. Even though that was the case on Friday as well, I did not necessarily feel that it was. We all hurried to get our stuff together and then dragged everything downstairs.

Once I got down I noticed that Braien and Chris were somewhat focused. I didn’t remember them being this way the day before, but I guess they were feeling the heat of the upcoming game as well. We all walked up onto the bus and made our last trip down to the Blake Arena. We had no walk-in music and no police escort. In a way it felt like we had nothing positive going for us. The clock was set and we made our way into the gym to began warming up. While we were stretching, Springfield began serving balls over our head. A little annoying, but I guess those were the rules of the court (at 50 minutes we share sides of the court). Felix, Tania and my mom had all come to watch this game. Felix actually drove all the way from NYC. Thanks bro!

Before I knew it, the game had already begun. We lost the first set, but managed to keep up in the second. Both our scores in the second set was in the mid 20’s. Though Springfield won, we managed to play with them. Considering they were the number one seed at the tournament, I feel we gave them a fight in the second set. Unfortunately, the loss in the second let made us lose all hope. Our momentum was lost. While they were in the 20’s we were struggling in the single digits trying to play catchup. We lost, and before the match was over we had already known it. The one thing I remember from the match which I am very proud of was solo blocking Greg Falcone (Springfield’s 6’8″ middle blocker) in the second set.

The match was soon over and we received our mini semifinalist trophies. As we walked to the locker rooms I don’t think we were very upset. We had a great opportunity to play volleyball at a level we didn’t think was possible. We had fun at the hotel, fun at practice, and most of all we played well during our games. We also weren’t yelled at as much (well we kind of were, we just couldn’t hear it while we were on the court due to the loud voice of Springfield’s fans).We walked into the locker room for the last time. Changed our clothes and had Terry (Athletic Director) speak to us. She tried to show that she was happy with the way we played, but ultimately failed. I guess she was not happy with the way we played in the third set. Considering our great record, and our magnitude of change from last year, I don’t think she has anything to complain about. After her speech, and after some of our players were interviewed, we headed towards some dinner.

We arrived at Uno Chicago Grill, and decided to eat outside (since weather was warm and we didn’t want to wait for available tables). While we ate we we watched the second semifinal game between Carthage and UC Santa Cruz. Carthage went on to win the match and went to face Springfield in the finals the next day (Carthage lost). We then drove home and cracked some more Elvis jokes on our way.